The Witcher headquarters is abuzz with activity after Henry Cavill’s departure sparked controversy. The franchise is now in turmoil due to fan backlash, causing significant challenges for CD Projekt Red’s new video game.
Recently, around 30 production team members working on Project Sirius, the upcoming spinoff game of The Witcher being developed at Molasses Flood studio, were let go. This information has been verified as several employees voiced their disappointment on social media.
Following Henry Cavill’s departure from The Witcher, showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich has acknowledged the understandable disappointment expressed by many fans.
The actor’s exit from the popular Netflix fantasy series has been a topic of discussion for the past month, notably as it coincided with his return to the DC Universe as Superman in Black Adam, where he is expected to have a significant role.
Despite the confirmation of The Witcher season 4 and the casting of Liam Hemsworth to replace Cavill in the lead role, fans of the show have yet to react positively to this idea.
During an interview with TechRadar to discuss the upcoming prequel series, The Witcher: Blood Origin, showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich shared insights about Henry Cavill’s departure from the franchise.
While she preferred to shift the focus to the new show, she did recognize that Cavill’s exit was significant for the team and expressed a desire for the fan backlash to subside.
Several Workers Were Fired During The Production of The Witcher’s New Game
In October 2022, Project Sirius was introduced to the public as a fresh and inventive take on The Witcher series. As of March of this year, CD Projekt has been providing financial support to Molasses Flood and has contributed a substantial amount to the overall budget of the game.
According to a recent report from PC Gamer, a regulatory report was published last week, indicating that the studio has finalized the development framework for Project Sirius. Initially, this seemed like positive news.
However, subsequent confirmation from multiple Molasses Flood employees revealed that they had been terminated. CD Projekt addressed this situation by stating, “Due to project changes, the composition of the team working on it has also changed, primarily on The Molasses Flood’s side. We have parted ways with 21 team members in the US and 8 in Poland working on the project outside the US.”
Several employees who were let go expressed their distress on social media and also used the opportunity to seek employment with other companies requiring their skills.
With over 60 individuals dedicated to the development of Project Sirius, the removal of 29 employees represents a significant setback for the development team. Given their year-long collaboration, separating and transferring their tasks to the remaining team members would have been challenging.
Project Sirius is just one of the five The Witcher games currently in progress at CD Projekt. This significant reorganization within the company signifies further alterations to the initial plan, as the studio seeks to reassess the game and reduce a substantial portion of the production expenses.
The specific modifications the game developer intends to implement for the series have yet to be disclosed.
Why Henry Cavill’s Exit Has Drawn Criticism From Fans
The fan outcry over Henry Cavill’s departure from The Witcher has been passionate and intense since the announcement. Cavill’s connection and fondness for the source material is the primary reason cited.
Even before the show started streaming, Cavill was known for his genuine love of the fantasy series, which originated from his experience playing The Witcher games developed by CD Projekt Red on his custom-built gaming PCs.
He has proudly shared his accomplishment of completing The Witcher 3 multiple times, although he admits to having yet to conquer the game on the highest difficulty level.
Cavill’s dedication to The Witcher extended to his portrayal of Geralt of Rivia in the Netflix series. To establish Geralt’s Rivian origins, Cavill opted for a unique accent for the character instead of using his natural British accent.
The actor also consistently advocated for the show to remain faithful to Andrzej Sapkowski’s novels, which reportedly caused creative conflicts between Cavill and the show’s writing team.
Additionally, former Witcher show writer Beau DeMayo recently claimed that several writers “actively dislike” the source material, further fueling the backlash following Cavill’s departure.
Although the unofficial explanation for Cavill’s departure from The Witcher has been attributed to his busy schedule, the combined fan backlash and negative audience reviews of season 2 pose a significant challenge for the show.
The series’ future will heavily depend on the reception and critical acclaim of The Witcher season 3 and how effectively the recasting of Hemsworth’s character is explained.
If season 3 receives positive reviews and provides a compelling justification for the casting change, the show can overcome the backlash and continue with future seasons. Ultimately, only time will reveal how audiences will respond when season 3 is released for streaming in mid-2023.
The Witcher Promises Fans Additional Game Installments
In addition to confirming new projects within The Witcher franchise, CD Projekt has unveiled a trilogy titled Project Polaris. Furthermore, the developer is also working on an open-world game called Project Canis Majoris.
In a financial report call last year, CD Projekt CEO Adam Kiciński shared the company’s plans for the future of the franchise, stating:
“We previously mentioned that there would be a new saga. Currently, we are in the pre-production phase of the first game in this saga. However, we intend to develop more than one game. The first saga consisted of three games, so now we are considering multiple games. We are currently in pre-production for the first game of the second Witcher saga.”
The announcement of multiple upcoming video games in The Witcher franchise is expected to bring some relief to fans, especially considering the mixed reactions to the Netflix series adaptation. As for The Witcher’s Project Sirius, no confirmed release date is available.